Review: ‘Rogue One’ From The Perspective Of A Die Hard ‘Star Wars’ Fan
“Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” is a unique, supplemental film for general audiences.
Being the first “Star Wars” film to venture outside of the Jedi realm, “Rogue One” expands upon Episode IV. As the daughter of the man responsible for the Death Star design, Jyn Erso joins a band of unique heroes to become the catalyst in stopping the Empire.
Cinematics (Cinematography, Acting, Plot, etc.) – 3.5
As a “Star Wars” fan, there aren’t a lot of surprises when it comes to the story. “Rogue One” should be considered a purely supplemental tale. There is little contextual value to advancing the main franchise. If your intent for seeing this film is to uncover more Jedi/Sith details or expand upon Rebel/Empire politics, then you may be disappointed. The plot is mostly focused on how the Death Star plans were stolen and those that initiated the effort. This leaves a lot of focus on the “how” but reiterates a “why” that we’ve known for a long time. Given this circumstance, an interesting dynamic is created as “Rogue One” is dependent upon “A New Hope” for closure yet doesn’t officially feel like a prequel. It runs flush with Episode IV but does not feel fluid with that film until the third act.
The characters are a bit of a double edged sword. The actors fit well into their respective roles making the characters memorable and individually exclusive. The engaging nature of these characters is what spawned excitement and disappointment. Not knowing more of their backstory left a void in defining the full scope of the characters. The main characters Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) and Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) had such strong personalities that I craved more detail. Director Krennic (Ben Mendelsohn) was an exception in his villainous role. Not much of a backstory was needed as his motives were singular making him formidably determined. The most interesting were Chirrut Imwe (Donnie Yen) and his companion Baze Malbus (Jiang Wen). I was so intrigued that I think we should strongly campaign for a spinoff series about them. Other characters carried that “Star Wars” feel through either cameo roles or serving a static or minor purpose.
Visually “Rogue One” took me on a journey through unknown territory. Opening on a dark, desolate planet with a vast landscape, the beauty and essence of “Star Wars” was captured in a way I had not seen before. This continued on in a visual, exploratory fashion jumping from planet to planet. Although planetary visits were brief, introducing these new worlds felt exciting and against the norm. Rather than the usual desert or forest planets we see in “Star Wars,” this feeling was reminiscent of “Empire Strikes Back.” Much like the introduction of Cloud City on Bespin, “Rogue One’s” journey showed us how vast the “Star Wars” universe is rather than just explaining.
The battles were also visually compelling. Also seen in the trailers, the battle on Scarif is the first tropical locale we’ve seen in a “Star Wars” film. It makes for a unique setting and provides an amazing backdrop for outer orbit space battles. It’s amazing to see the AT-ATs present in an environment completely opposite of the ice planet Hoth. The vibrant background colors make the detail of the walkers truly stand out.
Overall “Rogue One” paints a superb picture for the “Star Wars” universe. The visuals are stunning and exploration is vast but the visits are brief. The story is interesting but elements rely upon other films slightly diluting a standalone experience. I loved the characters but that love also had me wanting more character development. “Rogue One” takes a piecemeal filmmaking approach but luckily most of the pieces fit together in the context of “Star Wars.”
Entertainment Value – 4
The narrative may be a supplemental but “Rogue One” carries on the “Star Wars” excitement. The most enjoyable aspects of this film relied heavily on visuals and exploration. Things could have been compartmentalized minimally into only a few areas based on the objective. But luckily “Rogue One” chooses the less beaten path which extends the journey in a satisfying way.
This journey doesn’t lead towards any epic lightsaber battles like we’re accustomed to, but it makes up for it in other areas. Shootouts, dog fights, espionage, and interstellar warfare are the elements that make up this film. For those fascinated with the world outside of the Jedi, the entertainment will be amplified.
The one complaint I would have in the realm of entertainment is wanting more character defining moments. There is so much potential for expanded character development and unfortunately that is unlikely in subsequent films. Nonetheless, “Rogue One” was quite the thrill ride.
Re-Watchability – 4
Being an avid “Star Wars” fan, my bias towards re-watchability may be higher than some. I’m going to definitely be adding this to my personal collection once it hits home video and I’ve screened it a few more times in theaters. This isn’t on the level of The Force Awakens, but it’s still engaging enough for multiple viewings.
- Entertainment Value
Being supplementary to "Star Wars," "Rogue One" cannot stand on its own, but still manages to excel. Things are a bit fast paced and the characters could use some further development, but visuals and locations make up for what it's lacking.
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